History

The Liberty Fire Company # 4 of Schuylkill Haven starts its history back in 1908. The organization originated at its exact location that it holds today — 223 West Columbia Street, Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania.

stationphoto

The station was built as a single two-story dwelling, the same as the main building today. On the first floor, there was a double swinging garage door in which the apparatus was kept.

In those days, a team of horses from the neighboring Faust’s Garage had to be brought to the firehouse in order for the fire engines to respond to the call.

Sketchy details from the past tell us that there was no room or money for their own horse team,  so a kind member who operated a garage actually loaned the Liberty his team to transport the equipment when duty called.

Leadership

Due to the time period, the records of the Liberty Fire Company # 4 cannot be found from 1908 to 1916.

In the year 1916, not many logs or records can be obtained except that the fire chief on record was a man named Charles Faust.

In 82 years of records, the Liberty Fire Company has had a total of 12 presidents and 13 Chiefs. A man by the name of Jacob Moyer ruled in the fire company as President from 1923 until 1951 — serving a total of 26 years.  Jacob’s photo, illuminated with a spotlight, still hangs in the training room today.

At the present time, Keith Sweigert a native to the community, is serving as the Chief of the Liberty and has put a strong emphasis on the importance of training.

Under Keith’s leadership, the Liberty Fire Company is proud to say on average 160 man-hours of training is completed at the state level every month.

Apparatus

inozzleMany records and documentation still exist about the apparatus of the Liberty Fire Company. Records indicate that company had many “thin clad” years.

A report dating back to the year of 1918 stated,

“The Chief of the Schuylkill Haven Fire Department completed inspection of the 4 firehouses in town, and founded that the Liberty Fire Company #4 was to be deemed inoperable at structure fires, because the company only had one “I” nozzle”. There is no record on how this situation was resolved.

On a cold October day in 1921, the Liberty Fire Company accepted the delivery of a Hahn Chemical Engine, in which they paid $3,250.00 — their first motored fire apparatus!

chemicalIn March 1929, they purchased their 2nd Hahn chemical Wagon for the low cost of $3,775.00. Many stories have been told about these 2 pieces of firefighting memorabilia, including how the chemicals had to be mixed and the consequences if they were not mixed correctly.

It was not until November of 1948, the station purchased their first modern fire apparatus, a 1948 Mack pumper. Although, the price was substantially higher at $15,585.00, the new Mack could not compare to the operability of the chemical wagons. This truck is still in operating condition today and is privately owned by the Schuylkill Historical Society in Shenandoah, PA.

Nine years later, the Liberty expanded their firefighting apparatus collection by purchasing another Mack pumper. The “57″ as it is known today, cost the company $18,992.00 and is still in operating condition. The “57″ is also owned by the Schuylkill Historical Society in Shenandoah, PA.

In 1975, the company took delivery of a Dodge/Car-Mar 2000 gallon Tanker-Pumper. This Tanker-Pumper served the borough and surrounding communities from 1975 to 1992. “Tanker 738” also won numerous state championships throughout its legacy at Station 4.

the48In 1991, the Liberty explored the idea of purchasing a new tanker to replace the rod tanker-pumper known as “Tanker 738”. Shortly thereafter, in 1992, the new tanker was purchased from 4 Guys Fire Apparatus, in Meyersdale, PA. The International/4Guys, tanker had a 2000-gallon tank, with a 5 man enclosed cab, and a 750 GPM pump. Tanker 738 (63-38) is still in service today and responds to nearly 100 calls per year.

The next purchase in 1993 was a 1980 CF Mack from a man named Larry Taylor in Wysox, PA. The truck was a retired engine from the City of New York and was the former Engine 50 in the Bronx.

The Mack boasted a 1000 GPM pump with 750-gallon tank, and was able to carry 2500 ft. of 5′ large diameter hose. Many individuals came to love this truck, because of its history. This 1980 CF Mack (63-16) is still the pride and joy of our fire company and serves as a second out attack engine and LDH supply truck.

IMG_2790In 1998, the Liberty Fire Company purchased new 1998 HME/4 Guys, 1250 GPM fire engine with a 750 gallon tank, and enclosed 5 man cab.

This engine carries 1000 ft. of 5″ large diameter hose, 1000 ft. of 3″ hose, and is known today as “Engine 63-17″.

This Engine may be small compared to the mighty pumpers that are being built today, but it gets the job done when it is called upon. Engine 63-17 is a smaller engine that really packs a punch on the fire grounds and is used as our primary attack truck.

In early 2001, the Liberty Fire Company purchased a 1994 International Med-Tech Ambulance from the Schuylkill Haven Ambulance Association, and turned it into a squad, known as “Squad 739”. This Squad carried a 3-bottle cascade system, and was used as a RIT (Rapid Intervention Team) transport vehicle, command post, rehab unit and dive truck. This vehicle served the community from 2001 until the Spring of 2015.

In the Spring of 2015, the Liberty Fire Company decided to purchase a 1992 Pierce Arrow Pumper from its neighboring town of Cressona. The Pierce replaced the former Squad 739 as its condition was deteriorating rapidly. The Pierce Arrow is now today’s 63-69 or Squad 69.

 

 

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